The Cat Rules List

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11. HUMANS

Humans have three primary functions: to feed us, to play with and give attention to us, and to clean the litter box. It is important to maintain one's Dignity when around humans so that they will not forget who is the master of the house.

One way to keep your human healthy is through agility training. You can do this by running ahead of your human, maintaining a distance of about one and a half of the human's paces, and suddenly stopping to clean yourself. If the human doesn't trip over or boot you (a very real hazard, especially from beginner humans), s/he is fit and able to avoid all sorts of danger in his/her world. A bonus from this exercise is that the sight of the human will be very amusing and you can share the experience with your friends on the back fence. Another form of exercise can be imposed by sitting just out of reach of the human when he/she wants to pet you, so that he/she has to get up and move over. When you are being brushed, don't sit still for it, but move arould all over the place, forcing the human to follow you around or else pick you up and hold you. And of course there's the Big Chase when you steal something like a chicken leg.

If you are scolded for any reason, however (un)justly, fix upon your human your most forlorn and repentent gaze. This will induce such guilt and remorse in that human that she will immediately scoop you up and cuddle you, apologize profusely and offer you a favorite treat.

Occasionally, human ignorance demands a blunt response. If your humans have the gall to "discipline" you with a squirt bottle, the proper strategy is to abscond with the offending item when no one is looking, and hide it behind the couch or at the back of the most cluttered closet. Many months later the fools will stumble over it, but they will get the message.

11.1 WAKING THEM UP

It is not known why humans like to sleep when it gets dark, just when the day is young and the masters of the house are fresh and ready for play. It is known, however, that sleeping humans are boring to be around and that they occasionally must be roused to attend to our needs, such as to get fresh food or water or to retrieve a toy that was batted under the sofa. Almost all of them strongly dislike being dragged out of bed in their so-called "wee hours". Some will even pretend to be asleep even when we know they're not, hoping we'll give up and go away. Persistence is the key to success in any case.

One effective method of rejuvenating a dormant human is the "direct approach", namely jumping on the bed and doing one or more of the following: trampling, licking and/or nibbling any exposed parts, pulling hair (or clawing the bald spot), purring, meowing, head-butting, light taps on the eyes, or playing "Catch Mouse" or "King of the Hill". If the human tries to hide under the covers, s/he is now a huge Bed Mouse (see GAMES) and can be treated accordingly. This may only result in your being ejected from the bed, but at least you now have the human's attention.

If the human is being stubborn, you may have to resort to more drastic tactics, such as ripping down posters, rattling blinds, knocking over and looting a wastebasket, knocking items off the dresser, singing at the top of your voice, or even curling up on the human's head (often the only visible part). As well as being warm, in this way you will be aware of any movement made by the human, probably even before he is aware of it. You will be unlikely to wait for long. Another effective tactic is to jump, walk or knead on the human's abdomen, where the bladder is located. If the human hasn't been to the Big White Drinking Bowl during the night you can be sure of a rapid response. Eventually the human will get up and do what you want, usually employing some bad language while doing so.

WARNING: It is not advised to do this on a regular basis. It will very likely result in your being "banished" from and denied access to the bedroom altogether, in which case it becomes much more difficult to get them to respond to your wishes. Thumping the door or yowling may be initially effective, but will likely result in being further banished to the basement or even the kitty carrier! Discretion is thus strongly recommended.

Of course, if the human gets up on his own in the wee hours to go to the bathroom, you are free to get him to do your bidding while he is too sleepy to put up much resistance.

11.2 MORNINGS

In order to provide and care for you, the humans must leave the domain every morning (usually before you take your first Cat nap). To help them on their way, either yowl loudly, massage their scalps with your claws, gently bounce on top of them in bed, knead their chests, purr, and/or drool on them. See also WAKING THEM UP. The best time to do this is about 24 minutes before their clock begins to blare or ring. We must protect them from the noise because it could ruin their sense of hearing.

On some mornings, usually on the days the humans call Saturday and Sunday, the humans often want to stay in bed longer than usual. They resist attempts to rouse them more than ever. They will reluctantly get up to feed us and then return to bed, hoping that we will leave them alone. This should not be allowed. Sleeping humans are essentially ignoring us, which is a Bad Thing, so once you have eaten your breakfast, continue your campaign to get them out of bed. See WAKING THEM UP.

11.3 GUESTS

  1. Quickly determine which guest hates (or is allergic to) Cats the most. Sit on that lap. If you can arrange for particularly bad "tuna breath" (or extra dander), so much the better.
  2. For sitting on laps or rubbing against trouser legs, select fabric which contrasts well with your fur. For example: white-furred Cats go to black wool clothing. NOTE: Velvet takes precedence over all other cloth.
  3. For the guest who exclaims, "I love kitties!", be ready with aloof disdain, apply claws to stockings or arms, or use a quick nip on the ankle.
  4. When walking among the dishes on the dinner table, be prepared to look surprised and hurt when scolded. The idea is to force your humans to reveal that they tolerate this behavior when company is not there.
  5. Always accompany guests to the bathroom. It is not necessary to do anything -- just sit and stare. If you do feel active, try turning off the light switch if it is within reach; this is usually good for some laughs. Some Cats with a more prankish disposition like to hide behind the White Drinking Bowl and reach around to pat the human on the behind as s/he is sitting down just to watch him/her leap up in surprise. This will result in expulsion, but is worth it!

11.4 LAPS

Undoubtedly THE best way to get attention from a human is to jump in his/her lap and purr. Few humans can resist because it makes them think you like them (which may even be true!). Ear scratches, belly rubs, back stroking: all these and more can be yours. Some Cats like this treatment a little TOO much and acquire the silly name "Lap Fungus". Lap sessions also provide golden opportunities for shedding--be sure to take advantage of clothes which contrast with your fur (see also GUESTS). Unfortunately, humans have the annoying tendency to want to get up to do their mundane activities, like answering the thing that rings or going to the Big White Drinking Bowl. Protest this disturbance with accusing looks and plaintive meows. Some laps may require "softening up" with a little kneading; just be sure not to use the claws or you may have an unexpected flying lesson! Note that the occasional adoring gaze with half-closed eyes directed toward your human, especially when you are curled up in his/her lap purring and being petted, will keep him/her eating out of your paw for weeks. (Do not spoil your human by doing this too often.)

11.5 CONFUSING THEM

Humans (for the most part) love order and predictability. They especially like what they think are their pets to be predictable. So if you are in the mood to indulge in a little low-risk mischief, behaving irrationally is an excellent option. The usual method is to simply tear around the house at top speed talking to yourself and perhaps launching a frenzied attack on an unsuspecting toy. If there are two or more Cats in the household, you can take turns chasing and wrestling with each other. This is usually good for a shake of the head from the human, along with "Crazy Cat(s)" muttered under his/her breath.

Another way to baffle the humans is to interrupt your passage across a carpet (at whatever velocity) with a sudden vertical leap into the air. Then continue on as if nothing had happened. If you're skilled enough, you may be able to convince the human(s) that there are "rug worms" in the house. A third way, which isn't quite as fun as the others but which tends to get better reactions from the humans, is to stare fixedly at a blank wall, turned-off TV, corner of the room, or whatever, and pretend to carry on a conversation with another Cat. The humans, who may already be convinced that you're from outer space, will think you're talking to your friends, the "Jupiter People". If they start talking about mailing you to Mars, it's a good idea to lay off this prank for a while.

11.6 ORGANIZATION

Let's face it, humans are a disorganized lot. They need constant supervision in order to get things done right and on time, such as feeding their masters, retrieving lost toys, etc. Humans also need assistance in keeping their masters' home organized. They have to be continually reminded that things belong on the floor, not on shelves, bookcases, tables or dressers where accessing them may be inconvenient for their masters. It will be up to you to keep your household properly organized. Feel free to take items such as pens, buttons, waste paper (such as the stuff they call "tax return"), and unsuitable toys and relocate them to better spots, such as the water bowl, under the stove, or down the hot-air ducts (humans are always grateful if you do this with tax returns). This should be done when the humans aren't around, as they will always interfere. When the human discovers your handiwork, he will praise you with such words as "Damned Cat!" and "You little monster!"; however this praise is usually best accepted from under the bed until the human finds something else to get excited about.

11.7 SUBSTITUTES

Occasionally your humans will want to go away on a "vacation" or "trip" and, knowing that you hate travelling, will want to leave you behind. The choice of boarding at the vet's or a kennel is to be avoided at all costs, which implies that you have to find another human in the neighbourhood who will be willing to look after you when your humans are away. This is usually not hard to do when you're able to patrol the neighbourhood, but if you're a house or apartment Cat, you'll be stuck with whatever human your humans can find.

In most respects, the substitute performs the same functions as the regular human, i.e. feeding, changing the litterbox, and perhaps even playing with you. Since most substitutes don't know your feeding habits, try extra hard to get more food. A few minutes after you've cleaned out your dish, go into "feed me" mode again. Be especially piteous, using the Big Soulful Eyes, low moans, extra head-butting and rubbing, Meaningful Stares at the empty dish, and all the other tricks that sometimes work on your more hard-hearted regular humans.

If the substitute performs poorly, like showing up late for your feeding times, let your regular humans know your displeasure with the usual punishment, like wetting the bath mat, clawing furniture, etc.

11.8 TELEVISION AND OTHER ENTERTAINMENT

Humans exercise very poor judgment in entertaining themselves, for example, in the amount of time they spend watching that inexplicable object, the television. They may be permitted to watch a reasonable number of hours of television per week (if they are getting their homework and chores, such as feeding, petting and litter-changing, done) but the responsible cat will not allow excessive television, will not use the television as a babysitter, and will supervise its humans' viewing choices. The loving cat will try to improve its humans' taste by walking on the cable box to change the channel to a more appropriate show. If there is really nothing good on, it may be advisable to order something from Pay-Per-View by walking on the cable box. Other opportunities to Hamper exist with other high-tech toys, as listed above. Participation in the humans' board games is also listed under HAMPERING.

11.9 CHILDREN

Children, also known as mini-humans, are two-legged Cat Hazards until they are about the age of 4, by which time they will have been suitably trained in proper behaviour towards their masters. Until this time, they are best avoided unless they are properly restrained in cribs, playpens, swings, or other mobility-reducing gadgets, due to their tendency for grabbing tails or other extremities, unpredictable howling, screaming, and occasionally vomiting, falling down (with you being seen as a potential cushion) and more often than not noxious aromas. If you are in a household with a mini-human, it is a good idea to have hiding spots scouted out in every room to which you can dash if in a hurry. If you live with, or are, a Fraidy Cat, then these spots will already be marked (and if not, you'll soon find out where Fraidy Cats come from). Practice vanishing at the sound of "Ba-ba-ba KITTY!". Spend time enjoying the fresh air outdoors. But don't scratch, bite, or attack the mini-human unless you are in the presence of one of the big humans and know they have seen an atrocity committed to your Dignity. Otherwise you will always be blamed. Do not allow jealousy at the decrease in the amount of attention you get to you, just be more ingenious in getting it for yourself by increasing Hampering activities. Steal diapers and run with them when the mini-human is being changed, knock over the bottles of baby stuff, and do whatever you can to get any milk the baby gets.

You can have fun with children if they are in a restraining device by standing just out of reach and "talking" to them or washing yourself. Lurking under the high chair can often be rewarded by free food, however, and once the mini-human is sufficiently developed you can even occasionally cooperate with him/her to steal more food. Overall, patience, steady nerves, and good hiding places will get you through the dangerous times.

Probably the most frequent offence to Dignity committed by a mini- human is attempts to pick you up and lug you around. This can get quite annoying if the kid is fixated on it. One possible way of training the little monster is to run away every time s/he comes after you with the obvious intention of making The Grab. After s/he gives up or gets distracted by something else (they have notoriously short attention spans), approach him/her and rub against his/her legs until s/he grabs you. Wait a few seconds and then struggle until you are dropped. Repeat until the kid gets the idea (be patient, this may take a while).

12. VETS AND MEDICINE

The vet is the person to whom your human will take you when you are sick. The place smells funny, there are usually other Cats and dogs in the waiting room, and awful things like needles and pill prescriptions will happen there. The usual result is that you will get better, which is good, but you just can't let those humans Cathandle you. The following are some tips for dealing with vets and medicine.

  1. Unless you are really sick, when you see the carrier come out, run and hide somewhere inaccessible, such as under the bed or behind a couch. Once the human finally grabs you, struggle gamely. Splay your legs out so that it is difficult to cram you into the carrier. If the human is trying to put you in with another Cat, try to allow the other Cat to bolt out the door. In the car, meow plaintively all the way down to the vet's. If possible, reach through the bars of the portable prison and try to claw the human as s/he drives. At the vet's, splay your legs and brace yourself against the carrier's walls if you can so that they can't dump you out easily.
  2. If you are well enough, you must resist attempts to feed you pills or any liquid medicine. As soon as you hear the pill bottle rattle, hide as in part a). Resist attempts to open your mouth. Squirming is good. Once the medicine is in, try to spit it out, preferably by shaking your head vigorously. If the humans manage to get the pill into to your mouth and are still holding you waiting for you to spit it out, swallow, but keep the pill in your mouth. Then after being let go, find a suitable hiding place and spit it out. Make sure that the humans do not find the hiding place, so they think that you took the pill. Don't use the same hiding place twice. Refuse any food that looks or smells like it may have had medicine sprinkled on it. Unfortunately, humans can be REALLY unfair and put it in tuna. In this case, accept grudgingly. Look aggrieved after the medicine session is over.

13. ILLNESS

  1. If you have to throw up, get to a chair quickly. If you cannot manage in time, get to an Oriental rug. If there is no Oriental rug, shag is good. When throwing up on the carpet, make sure you back up so that it is as long as the human's bare foot.
  2. When you get sick in the house, you should hover around the general area until a human spots the mess. You should act as if you are guarding the stuff for the human and then quickly vacate the room.
  3. If taken outside, you should take every opportunity to scarf down as much grass as possible (while not being spotted). After ingesting a "critical mass" amount, whine and scratch at the door to be let back in the house. After entering the house head for the traditional illness locations and let it rip.
  4. If the urge strikes at night when your human is asleep, you can retch as loudly as possible so that the human will wake up. That failing, choose a location where the human's bare foot is likely to find it. They don't see very well in the morning and need assistance in locating the mess. If the human has neglected you by leaving (see MORNINGS), cover the fruits of your labours with whatever is handy, such as papers from the desk. That way you can soil another object besides the carpet.

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